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Frank Stewart's Nexus

An American photographer's journey opening at The Philips Collection.

The Phillips Collection presents Frank Stewart’s Nexus: An American Photographer’s Journey, 1960s to the Present from June 10, 2023 through September 3, 2023.

This dynamic retrospective of Stewart’s photography centers on his sensitive and spontaneous approach to portraying world cultures and Black life in many forms—including music, art, travel, food, and dance. His work over the years captured intimate and empathetic images of lives experienced and observed across subjects, cities, and countries.

Tracing both Stewart’s explorations of life on the road and the trajectory of his stylistic journey, the exhibition brings together a comprehensive visual autobiography through over 100 black-and-white and color photographs as well as a selection of cameras from Stewart’s personal archives. Frank Stewart’s Nexus explores Stewart’s avid experimentation and numerous subjects over the course of half a century, including aspects and rituals of Black culture, trips to Africa and Cuba, and music. As the senior staff photographer for Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for 30 years, Stewart captured both public performances and candid, personal moments, including well-known photographs of jazz legends Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, and Wynton Marsalis.

Frank Stewart’s Nexus also provides a window into less-explored aspects of Stewart’s practice, including his more abstract and painterly Drawings series, inspired by his travels. Color has dominated Stewart’s photography for the past two decades, and he has also increased the sizes for many images. In more recent images, he captures the ever-changing landscape and environmental catastrophes. At the center of his varied practice is a familiarity Stewart creates with the people and places that inhabit his works.

The exhibition is co-organized by The Phillips Collection and Telfair Museums and curated by Ruth Fine, formerly of the National Gallery of Art in DC, and Fred Moten, poet, scholar, and professor of performance studies at NYU’s Tisch School of Fine Arts.